27 June 2012

Culinary Literature: It's summer, and the reading's delicious

Wouldn't you just love to?

In the spring, I anticipated an extraordinarily luxurious summer break...over thirteen weeks of uninterrupted relaxation in the sun.  I envisioned those 94 lazy days to be full of cooking, gardening, painting, golfing, and running.  I would probably squeeze in a shower now and then, build a fire in the pit on chilly nights and toast marshmallows, go camping with David and the dogs in Wisconsin, and drink an occasional mojito in the garden.  I also planned to read...a lot.  I compiled long list of dreamy culinary memoirs and food books that I wanted to read over vacation, and I could hardly wait to begin!

Of course, that was before I realized how busy I really am: I am taking a graduate class which requires an enormous amount of work; I have a new job that starts in the fall for which I need to do massive amounts of preparation; and I started this blog.  All extremely enjoyable activities, but far from painting en plein air while sipping a glass of rosé, or lying on the chaise, reading a delicious little treasure from my book list while my tired dogs nap in the shade.  I feel, like so many of us, over-scheduled.  And I am so not over-scheduled compared to others..it’s just that it’s summer.  There is never enough of it.  And there are so many good books!

It is obvious that we enjoy books on cooking chez nous.

And now, it's already the end of June.  I’m sure that I don’t have to remind you about what happens after the summer solstice.  Hmmph.  This morning, I contemplated returning the four books that I checked out from the library a month ago and still haven’t read.  Instead, I got out my summer food reading list and rededicated myself.  I thought I’d share the titles of a few culinary memoirs with you- some I’ve read in the past and truly loved; others are on my list for this summer.  A few are books about the realities of being a chef (a tradesman; not a celebrity) in a really hot, sweaty French kitchen for eighteen hours a day.  If you’ve lived the life, you will enjoy these books.  If you haven’t, they may not be your cup of tea.  All of these books are available on Amazon or from your local library.  Maybe together this summer, we can make some time to relax in the chaise, sip a glass of wine and dream about delicious food and the places it takes us. 

A Chef's Tale: A Memoir of Food, France, and America
(Pierre Franey)

Burgundy Stars: A Year in the Life of a Great French Restaurant (William Echikson)

Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef (Gabrielle Hamilton)

Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-quoting Butcher in Tuscany (Bill Buford)

My Life in France (Julia Child and and Alex Prud'Homme)

On Rue Tatin: Living and Cooking in a French Town (Susan Herrmann)

The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen (Jacques Pepin)

The Devil in the Kitchen: Sex, Pain, Madness, and the Making of a Great Chef 
(Marco Pierre White)

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears in Paris at the World's Most Famous Cooking School (Kathleen Flinn)

The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World’s Most Glorious- and Perplexing- City (David Lebovitz)

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